What Would I Have Done Differently? (Part One...)

Growing Hands photo (c) 2011, Andrew Blight - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Raising a baby at this time in my life has made me ask that question a lot.
AND THE ANSWER IS...(Drum roll, please!):   
A few BIG things sprinkled with a lot of little things.   

When we bring a child into the world we aren't given a manual, a step-by-step checklist, or a written plan on how to turn that helpless, precious baby into a productive, positive, faith filled adult.  

And if we were given the luxury of such a plan, each child's would be significantly different,  because that's the way God made us-- all different.  (Why, Oh Why, couldn't it be simple??

Having raised all of our kids so far into their teenage years I am able to look back and see the positive (and sometimes negative) results of my parenting choices. 

I don't have enough time, nor enough courage, to lay it all out right here and now, but this is what I will share...

I would take care of ME more.  
Now I know that sounds self-centered, and you are thinking, How could that possibly make life better for a child you are raising?  Let me tell you- It makes life better for everyone!

In the process of taking care of my family, I forgot to take care of me.  

Selfless, loving, giving...  All of the things I thought I was being.  Exhausted, impatient, and sometimes bitter were what I had become.
What do I mean by taking care of me?  I mean taking time for myself...time to exercise, time to be alone, time to be with friends, time (and money) to get my hair or nails done... I always put myself last.  
Isn't that what any good Mom would do?  
                      Nope.  I know that now.

The healthier I am spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally- the better Mom I am.  This doesn't mean that I spend most of my day at the spa or at the gym.  
It means that I TRY to schedule time for me....sometimes...instead of never.

Expect More.   
I guess you could say I felt sorry for my kids.  I mean, they watched their Dad battle brain cancer for 5 years, only to lose him at a young age.  Throw some ADD, Anxiety, and Learning Disabilities into the mix and, well, it left me wanting to make life easier for them sometimes.  


If our parents have high expectations for us that are placed with love, we tend grow into them.  If our parents have low expectations of us,  we tend to settle for good enough.   At times I set my expectations for my kids too low, mostly because I didn't want them to ever feel like they had failed me, or that they weren't good enough.  

I wish in more situations I had pushed them to not just settle for good enough, but instead to push the limit.

That's all the confession you get from me today! I take comfort in knowing that God knew my heart during those years, as He still does now, and that I did and continue to place my children at His feet through prayer.  We all do the best we can based on what we know.  

Oh, if I only knew then 
                                   what I think I know now... 

peace of pizza - a wee bit.

Rocking her to sleep at night, I often sing the song "The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine upon you, and give you peace, and give you peace forever."  The other night while rocking and singing this to her, her eyes are closed as she's drinking her bottle and drifting off to sleep, I get to the verse "...and give you peace, and give you peace for...." Her eyes pop open and she pulls her bottle from her mouth, "Piece!  Piece a pizza!  Piece a pizza!"  Yes, Willow.  "... and give you peace, and give you pi-ece of pi-zza."  (20 months old)

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